Wednesday, September 01, 2004

book 81

e.l. doctorow's the book of daniel
i picked this up at nightlight on monday, having heard more-or-less good things about it. the owner guy was raving about it when i paid, so i was really looking forward to the story--it's a fictionalized account of the rosenberg trial and its effects on the rosenberg kids (here, a boy and a girl--i think they had two sons--and i have to say, i'm really wondering what happened to them now!). anyway, this is an enjoyable book, totally character-driven. my only beef is really the narrative structure--first of all, it constantly changes from third to first person, sometimes within paragraphs, some sentences just trail off, and in general the style is very disjointed (i suppose this is meant to highlight the fragile mental state of the main character). in addition, it does go off on political rants every now and then (the action shifts back and forth from the 1950s to the late 60s), but not in any meaningful or compelling way. it's like when you skip the 76 pages of annoying speech in an ayn rand book to get back to the main plot (only it only goes on for a few pages at a time here, and the plot is more interesting than an ayn rand book--which isn't really hard). now, all of this is not meant to indicate that i didn't like this book, b/c the premise alone is worth reading about. i just wish doctorow had approached this a little bit differently--this really could have been an intense and moving book, but it just didn't get there for me.

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